Dear friends in Christ,
This week we get to the center of the Gospel. Over the course of Holy Week, we enter into the Paschal Mystery: the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this action, God has acted to redeem the cosmos and to offer salvation to all people.
Once again, most of us find ourselves exiled from our familiar liturgies and habits in Holy Week. We are unable to gather as we are accustomed. I for one grieve the fact that we cannot celebrate the glorious liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve from our prayer book with churches full of people.
And, yet, we know that Christ’s self-offering on the cross and his resurrection are still true, whether or not we are able to mark those events in our churches in the usual manner.
If you are a member of a church, I encourage you to take part in whatever is being offered in your church, online or (if you are able to safely attend) in person. If your church is not offering liturgies this year, there are plenty of options online. Pray for your clergy. They have been knocked out of sorts by all this, and they yearn for the depth of Holy Week as much as anyone.
If you are a clergy person, I hope you won’t be beating yourself up too much. Every priest or deacon I have spoken to feels like they aren’t doing enough, even though none of us knows what “enough” means. It is enough to offer what we can, given all the limits of the pandemic and people’s exhaustion.
I hope everyone can find some peace, mercy, and hope in the coming days through our observance of the Three Holy Days and the Easter season.
If nothing else, perhaps this year affords us the opportunity to read the accounts of the passion and resurrection of Jesus in the Gospels with special fervor. Read one or more of Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, or John 18-20.
This week, whether through liturgies with our community, through our own prayer, or in the pages of scripture, may we all join with Mary Magdalene and say, “I have seen the Lord.”
Blessings to you all in the coming days.
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Image: Russian icon from the 1500s, depicting the Crucifixion. National Museum, Stockholm.
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